Determining the proper WordPress hosting for your site is a complicated task. There are many detailed reviews of hosting companies, and many of them are objective. Sadly, some reviews are biased, written just to earn some money through affiliate marketing.
Biased or not, no analysis can provide perfect guidance on the matter of proper WordPress hosting because each site is unique, and this article is no exception. We don’t have a secret formula to predict the best WordPress hosting for your project, but we do have a pretty original idea—instead of providing a list of hosting companies, we want to share our knowledge with you.
We haven’t researched and tested hosting offers. Instead, we will teach you how to analyse your project and make an informed decision about the best hosting provider for you. Once you have learned the following tips, you will better understand the importance of hosting and the related lingo, as well as be able to interpret hosting reviews correctly.
The Importance of Hosting
Stop thinking that a host is something abstract and that its only role is to annoy you. A host is the cornerstone of a site; it can be the base of a successful project or ruin it. Here are the areas in which a host proves its significant role:
People hardly have the patience for a site to load, and they certainly won’t wait for your site if it’s not available. A site must be available 24/7, especially when the target audience is spread all over the globe. A modest uptime affects a brand considerably; no one will become an advocate for a brand whose site is down most of the time.
Hosting providers are responsible for almost 50% of all hacked sites. If you want peace of mind so you can focus on essential activities, then a secure host is mandatory.
Not only is loading speed a ranking factor, but also it significantly impacts a site. You could produce the best content, but you won’t get much traffic if your site loads slowly. Hosting is responsible for a site’s loading speed, so take this aspect into account when making a final decision.
The bigger a site is, the more problems you have. The majority of webmasters have confirmed this rule of thumb. Therefore, reliable support is another thing to look for when choosing the proper WordPress hosting. You will need guidance to resolve various issues, and the host agent is the one who can provide that help. A fast and helpful support team could save you from complete disasters.
Fortunately, hosting companies have pushed the envelope, and most of them provide impressive uptime, robust security, fast servers, and reliable support. But you want to get the most bang for your buck. Let’s take a look at the various types of hosting and which one is best for you.
Types of Hosting
Hosting companies offer different types of hosting to fit better to the users’ needs. Some hosting plans are suitable for small or personal projects while others are targeted at the enterprise level. There are four types of WordPress hosting:
Shared hosting means that you share a server’s resources with other sites. A shared hosting plan is like a large neighbourhood. You don’t know your neighbours or what they are doing. They could be criminals or upstanding citizens. The same goes for the sites sharing your server; you don’t know them, and at any moment, a vulnerability on a neighbour’s site could pull your site down. Consider shared hosting for small projects or your first site.
VPS stands for Virtual Private Server, and it’s similar to shared hosting. VPS hosting is like a small neighbourhood where all the properties are well separated by large fences. The difference between shared hosting and VPS is that the latter comes with fewer neighbour sites, and you have a fixed percentage of the server’s resources. No matter the traffic spikes of the sites on the server, your site will run smoothly. VPS hosting is reasonable for mid-size projects with small budgets.
In my opinion, the market share of cloud hosting will grow exponentially in the coming years. As the name says, this hosting plan means that your site is stored in cloud architecture. The biggest advantage of cloud hosting is scalability. Unlike other hosting types, cloud hosting allows for the highest degree of scalability. It’s perfect for traffic spikes, and you pay for what you consume. Cloud hosting is suitable for any type of project.
If you run a heavily visited site, you must consider dedicated hosting. Practically, you rent and manage a server. You have full freedom to configure the hosting, but you pay considerably more for this luxury.
In addition to these four types of hosting, there are also two umbrella categories: shared and managed. The four types of hosting featured above all fall under the shared umbrella while managed hosting is for people who don’t want to spend time doing maintenance and other similar tasks (aka the hosting company does your site maintenance).
You have now a clear understanding of the different types of hosting. It’s a good start, but you must evaluate your host based on certain criteria. In fact, you will have to find the sweet spot between cost and features. Here is a list of criteria that will help you to determine the best WordPress hosting for your site.
1. Site Destination
Site destination is probably the most critical factor to consider. Small sites, portfolios, and personal blogs don’t need generous resources, so you can stick with a shared plan. Mid-size websites, online stores, blogs, and magazine news sites should go for VPS or cloud hosting. In this case, you might also want to hire an expert to configure and maintain the hosting.
Projects expecting spikes of traffic (i.e., entertainment sites with viral posts) fit perfectly with cloud hosting. Heavily visited magazine news sites, and blogs, online stores or business sites are suitable for dedicated hosting to avoid any issues that may impact their brand name.
2. Estimated Traffic
Not only the purpose of a site is relevant, but the estimated traffic also matters a lot. Yes, no one can plan every aspect of life, but you should strive to be as realistic as possible. If you have started blogging just for fun, then go for the cheapest shared plan. A project massively funded expecting crowds of buyers needs a dedicated plan. Anything in between is suitable for VPS or cloud hosting.
Cost is imperative in the equation of purchasing a hosting service. The prices vary from $0 to $1,000+ per month for enterprise levels. To save money, you are better to go for a yearly payment instead of the monthly plan. You will benefit from substantial discounts by paying yearly. Also, if you are firmly committed to your project, consider buying the hosting service for two years. Overall, you will save some money.
Keep in mind that you don’t need the best WordPress hosting, but you do need the proper one.
Don’t be a Scrooge, blindly buying the cheapest plan, but also don’t go for the most expensive plan because you think it’s the best for your site. Carefully read each pricing plan and what each of them includes. Look for features that you really need for your site.
If possible, check out the renewal policy. Think strategically—some hosting providers offer huge discounts when registering, but the renewal price is considerably higher. Black Friday and Cyber Monday come with genuinely fantastic deals, so try to profit from the best offers!
4. Features and Options
Another factor to bear in mind when selecting the proper WordPress hosting is the features and options. You may start with a small project, but over time, your mind could change.
Let’s suppose that you started a blog, and it has had some real success. To scale it, you need to add a subdomain or want more bandwidth. Perhaps you want to have your site backed up by your host. Is your host flexible and ready to help with these issues? Many hosting companies try to satisfy all users’ requirements, and some really do.
Above anything, you should be able to get the most from your hosting. Spend a few minutes checking out what kind of control panel the hosting services use. Are you familiar with it? Are you prepared to learn how to use? You have to have clear answers to these questions, or else you will be off to a bad start.
Performance goes hand in hand with features and options. I mentioned earlier that hosting plays a crucial role in the speed and security of a site. Don’t ignore the following aspects:
- Bandwidth and Disk Space. Usually, ‘unlimited bandwidth’ means ‘unlimited bandwidth under specific conditions’. Sometimes, the truth is buried in the small print!
- Backups. Even the most competitive companies have security breaches that take down tonnes of sites. A host that performs complete daily backups will give you comfort and time for other tasks.
- Caching. This factor influences the site’s speed. An honest host has documentation that notifies you of the caching system used.
- SSL. Online stores and sites managing sensitive data need an SSL certificate. Some hosting companies provide free SSL certificates for hosted sites. Thumbs up for them!
- International Data Centres. A site loads faster when it’s hosted closer to the primary target audience. This is especially important for local sites.
- One-Click Installation. Newbie’s will highly appreciate a host using one-click installation software. It remarkably streamlines WordPress installation.
Reputation alone isn’t a factor that contributes to a good hosting experience. But the chances are that what worked for tens of thousands of users will work for you too. Select a hosting provider with a good reputation, especially if you are a newbie. Avoid huge discounts from unknown hosting providers and go for something tested and reviewed by experts.
Pay attention to the fact that some providers offer free hosting. Take it with a grain of salt because many of these offers come with hidden disadvantages. For instance, the hosting service might display ads that aren’t in line with your site’s purpose. On the other hand, some fair hosting companies might just want to promote their services and offer free plans. Check out reviews and user feedback on these plans before taking action.
7. Terms and Conditions
Some hosting companies are more transparent and extract the essential facts from these pages; you’ll find them in the ‘Q and A’ or ‘FAQ’ section.
8. WordPress Compatible Hosts
I was in doubt about adding this section. My initial purpose was not to feature any hosting companies. Still, it’s impossible to ignore the opinion of WordPress experts, so I recommend going to WordPress.org and checking out the ‘Hosting’ section. Bluehost, DreamHost, and SiteGround are the recommendations of WordPress.org, so these must be on the top of your list of shared hosting providers.
On the flipside, WordPress.org doesn’t have a clue about your project. Don’t consider WordPress.org’s recommendation as a rule carved in stone. Instead, focus on the minimal requirements for running WordPress.
We, the team behind Newt Labs, consider hosting vital for all sites. Choosing the proper WordPress hosting isn’t a matter of good luck. Rather, it’s about in-depth analysis and proper planning. I believe that this post has raised a point about hosting. In fact, the more questions it has raised, the better.
We will gladly share our experiences with hosting companies, so feel free to ask us anything. Also, leave a comment with your experiences and opinions related to WordPress hosting.
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